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How much time do you need to finish a beginners book?


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#1 mtplaid   Members   -  Reputation: 113

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 03:13 AM

Hey guys, I'm new to this site and i just started learning C++ through a book I'm reading 'Beginning C++ Through Game Programming' by Michael Dawson and I feel like I'm too slow...

 

I know a bit of java, html, and php (I made a basic website once) and after 2 weeks and I'm in chapter 6. Am i too slow? too fast?

 

And i read a lot about game programming (because thats what i want to do) they said as a beginner, stick to small project or games (because once you finish it, it is more rewarding than large projects and failing it) and I think tic-tac-toe is a small game but I'm just copying or typing the code (It's my first AI), i understand the code(except for the AI part) but if i want to remake it without looking at the book i don't think i can do it. Is it normal to know the code but can't remake it? I'm feeling kind of incompetent, the reviews of the book said it's easy and good for beginners.

 

I remade the Hangman on chapter 4 but i was looking at the pseudocode.

 

After running the game should i know the code without looking at the book?

How do you know if you're not a beginner anymore?

 

Sorry for having a lot of questions, I'm new to this, and all of those programming language I know is self thought so I don't know if I'm a beginner at those or not.

 

 



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#2 Saint Retro   Members   -  Reputation: 261

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 04:20 AM

You should just go at a pace you are comfortable with and make sure you fully understand the topics before moving on to another.  It doesn't mean you didn't understand the material because you cannot remember every line of code for the game.  

It's like with a car, I know what a lot of the components do and how they function but if I watched someone strip an engine and put it back together I may not be able to remember how it was done but this doesn't lessen my understanding of the individual parts. 

It is tempting to want to rush ahead, it's a pitfall I constantly fell into and the main reason why I never really got into programming (wanting to run before walking) although I am now taking a different approach and it's working quite well so far.

There are many ways to make a Hangman game, maybe take what you do know and try to recreate it in your own way.



#3 mhagain   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7468

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 06:08 AM

How long is a piece of string?

 

It's not as important how much time you take as it is that you actually learn stuff while you're working through it.


It appears that the gentleman thought C++ was extremely difficult and he was overjoyed that the machine was absorbing it; he understood that good C++ is difficult but the best C++ is well-nigh unintelligible.


#4 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 17349

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 07:12 AM

There's no specific pace you should be going at as long as you're learning.

 

Some people read their books and learn very quickly, and some people read their books and learn very slowly.  Most people don't remember all of the details until they've had a lot of practice; you certainly shouldn't expect to be able to replicate a program after walking through an example in your book.

 

 

Make sure you do all of the exercises in your book, ask questions about anything you don't understand, and keep progressing with what you're doing.  Eventually you'll remember smaller details, and you'll start to understand more of the "big picture" stuff.  Even experienced professional programmers still look things up -- you'll eventually learn how to look up the things you need very quickly and efficiently, and you'll be looking up either small details or new techniques rather than everything like you're doing now.

 

 

It sounds like you're doing just fine and making normal progress for a beginner.  Stick with it, it'll get easier over time, and you'll find yourself moving on to larger problems.



#5 kseh   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1873

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 09:56 AM

Hopefully you're feeling a more re-assured about your pace.

If you feel as though you're just typing things in and not learning, try to think of a project that's not in the book but applies what you've covered so far. If you have to go back to the book to review how to use something, then do it. Until something becomes second nature, everybody returns to the book.

A few ideas for small projects that might be at your skill level:

 

A trading game (a buy low sell high sort of a thing).
Memory
Blackjack
 



#6 Glass_Knife   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3531

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 10:17 AM

Student:  "How long will it take for me to learn?"

Master:  "Ten years."

Student:  "What if I practice eight hours a day?"

Master:  "Fifteen years."

Student:  "What if all I do is practice, all day, everyday?"

Master:  "Then you will never learn anything."


I think, therefore I am. I think? - "George Carlin"
Indie Game Programming

#7 TheChubu   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3771

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 03:48 PM


How long is a piece of string?
About this long.

"I AM ZE EMPRAH OPENGL 3.3 THE CORE, I DEMAND FROM THEE ZE SHADERZ AND MATRIXEZ"

 

My journals: dustArtemis ECS framework and Making a Terrain Generator


#8 Lactose!   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 2559

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 05:10 PM

std::string str("This is a string");

std::cout << "The length of this string is" << str.length() << " characters."



#9 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 17377

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 05:30 PM

Chapter 6 after week 2 is fine. C++ is a multi-year journey to learn, and it's something that is never mastered (Or, at least, I still haven't 'mastered' it 9 years later). Sure, you can get the basics down after the first year or two, and learn the absolutely basic basics after just a few months, but it is something that you continue learning for many years.

 

Better to read slow and understand, then to blaze through it and forget. But make sure you mix practice (which grows your experience) with study (which grows your knowledge), because you need a mix of both.


It's perfectly fine to abbreviate my username to 'Servant' rather than copy+pasting it all the time.

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#10 dejaime   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3766

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 08:03 PM


Make sure you do all of the exercises in your book
This. Resist that "Oh that's just too easy, I'll skip it" thought. It's tempting, but practice makes perfect-ish.

#11 mtplaid   Members   -  Reputation: 113

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 09:02 PM

Thank you for the replies, I just feel a bit overwhelmed and I don't know anyone else who's studying programming right now, my friends aren't serious, so I don't know if I'm doing good or if I'm having results.

 

Anyway thanks again, and I'll read the book again at my own pace and do paper coding with my own version of the examples.



#12 orizvi   Members   -  Reputation: 272

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 01:24 AM

As a comparison a university course takes 4 months and on average covers half the content in a text book.

I'm not saying that's a good or bad pace, just that it is a common pace.

It all depends on the density and complexity of information in your particular book of course. C++ is also such a big topic that no single or even a dozen books could contain everything you need to know.

Learning to program is a life long commitment. It also requires an endless amount of practice. Never stop practicing.

Edit: Don't restrict yourself to examples from books. Experiment. Don't code because you feel you have to write x lines of code to get to the next stage. Consider what matters to you and write code for that. My coding practices tends to be silly little utilities that solve random tasks for me.

Edited by orizvi, 04 May 2014 - 01:30 AM.


#13 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2978

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 09:26 PM


I know a bit of java, html, and php (I made a basic website once) and after 2 weeks and I'm in chapter 6. Am i too slow? too fast?

 

Thorough study so you understand each step and travelling at your own pace is the ideal. If you follow this and do not unnecessarily repeat steps, then you are doing very well. Comparing to the pace of other people is not reliable in many ways. You will forget most of what you learn and need to return to those chapters anyhow, so don't worry about anything.  In reality, all programmers take years to make everything stick permanently in memory and to make all the endless relationship connections.  I've been at it a couple years and have a long way to go in declaring myself an expert.  By the way, added to this, some of what you are learning will be rarely used by you. Don't sweat it.

 

Work at your pace and be thorough.


Edited by 3Ddreamer, 04 May 2014 - 09:27 PM.

Personal life and your private thoughts always effect your career. Research is the intellectual backbone of game development and the first order. Version Control is crucial for full management of applications and software.  The better the workflow pipeline, then the greater the potential output for a quality game.  Completing projects is the last but finest order.

 

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#14 kryotech   Members   -  Reputation: 821

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 01:54 PM

I would say it really depends on you. C++ isn't the easiest of languages to get off the bat, and it can take quite a while to really master it as opposed to learning it. Even if you finish the book and learning how it works, it takes time and practice to really master it. It depends mainly on how quickly you grasp concepts. Frankly, whatever works for you is good. I wouldn't worry about whether you are going fast enough. Work on understanding the language rather than going through as fast as possible. So if you feel that you are understanding it, then that's great. Good luck with your endeavors, and I hope that this has helped! 


Kryotech

#15 BHXSpecter   Members   -  Reputation: 1150

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 01:27 PM

The only thing you have to keep in mind when you read these kind of books is that they are teaching you the C++ language and really don't cover programming. This is how a lot of these books get people to buy them. I've met a lot of programmers online that have read that book, but had admitted to having no clue how to do the process of going from idea to finished product/project and had never heard of top-down or bottom-up. I've heard a lot say it is learned with experience, but IMO that is just brute forcing your way through and may either get overwhelmed or give up on an idea. Sadly, I don't know of any sites to recommend off-hand, but a book I've been recommended in the past and one that I've been planning to get is Bjarne Stroustrup's Programming: Principles and Practices Using C++ (new edition comes out next month). 


Edited by BHXSpecter, 06 May 2014 - 01:29 PM.

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#16 orizvi   Members   -  Reputation: 272

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 05:05 PM


The only thing you have to keep in mind when you read these kind of books is that they are teaching you the C++ language and really don't cover programming

 

This is so true. Any book that claims to teach you a particular programming language isn't really teaching you how to program. Its teaching you the syntax of that particular programming language along with some convenient examples. Maybe in a lot of cases this distinction doesn't really matter, but when you start working on larger and more complex projects or collaborating with other programmers, you'll start noticing that there is an entire set of terminology and problem solving techniques used which are far more generalized than just a particular language's syntax.

 

The gang of four's design pattern book is great example of such a book but there are many others. Once you're comfortable with the syntax of your chosen language, I would suggest reading the gang of four's design pattern book. It will really help you with managing complexity, which is an absolutely critical skill if you want to move beyond textbook examples and onto writing non-trivial code.


Edited by orizvi, 06 May 2014 - 05:06 PM.


#17 Lactose!   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 2559

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 05:43 PM


The gang of four's design pattern book is great example of such a book but there are many others. Once you're comfortable with the syntax of your chosen language, I would suggest reading the gang of four's design pattern book. It will really help you with managing complexity, which is an absolutely critical skill if you want to move beyond textbook examples and onto writing non-trivial code.

A related link, discussing various game programming patterns. Free, online.

http://gameprogrammingpatterns.com/






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